Clay County Sheriff Paul Vescovo wants to implement a new crime prevention program

LIBERTY, Mo. - The new Clay County Sheriff is waiting to hear if the County Commission will approve his request for six more deputies.
Paul Vescovo was elected in 2012 for his third term as the Clay County Sheriff. He served two terms before being defeated in the 2008 election.

After getting back into office, Vescovo noticed most crimes in Clay County had increased considerably in the last four years, especially between 2011 and 2012. Break-ins, especially in more of the rural areas, are his number one concern.

"Most people work during the day, and so there is no one there. And it's very easy, particularly out in the county, to kick in the door and grab things and run," Vescovo said.

According to figures provided by the sheriff's office, there were 22,181 service calls in 2007. That number jumped to 52,287 in 2012. The sheriff said the increase covered a number of duties.

"Serving warrants, serving legal papers, assisting other agencies calls for service such as that," Vescovo explained.

During this year's budget hearings, Vescovo asked the Clay County Commission for six more deputies to implement a new crime prevention initiative where deputies would go to homes before they become targets.

"(Deputies) would do a survey, look at things that they can do to help protect themselves from burglaries," Vescovo said.

His plan also includes what he's calling a power shift of several deputies.

"That can be used to pinpoint problem areas. If you're having an area where there's been an increase in burglaries then you can put those deputies to work in that area and concentrate on that," he noted.

The sheriff expects to find out by the end of January if the commission has approved his request or if he will have to shuffle shifts to implement his plan.

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